Why women’s risk for heart disease and stroke is still higher than men’s in Canada

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The absence of women in heart-related research continues to have life-altering effects on the lives of women throughout Canada and their communities. Photo: Pexels


(Jacqui Gahagan/ The Conversation) — Heart disease affects 2.6 million Canadians, and is the second-leading cause of death in Canada. Women continue to be at higher risk than men.

Heart and Stroke Canada has released a new report for Heart Health Month in February. It highlights several disparities women continue to experience in the prevention and treatment of heart attack and stroke, in comparison to other Canadians. According to this report, women are generally unaware of their individual risk and risk factors, and are often under-diagnosed and under-treated.

This is despite heart disease and stroke being a key cause of premature death for women in Canada. Approximately 50 per cent of women who experience a heart attack had symptoms that went unrecognized.

This report also reminds us that these health outcomes are not always under the control of the individual, highlighting the role clinical and social determinants of health (which include health care, food insecurity, housing precarity, race/racism, gender and sexism) play in this disease process. (…)

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